Sunday, October 20, 2013

Feminists en masse at Prospect Heights

"...organized by...Suzanne Lacy..."

On Saturday, October 19, 300+ people gathered on the stoops of brownstone homes in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights to talk about feminism from a personal perspective. And that number didn’t even include the guests.

In Between the Door and the Street, participants organized by Los Angeles-based artist Suzanne Lacy chatted amongst themselves about topics like the pressure to be macho, judgments about women’s clothing choices, sexual harassment, and platonic friendships between men and women. The audience looked on, moving at their own pace to overhear the next group of their choice. True to the contemporary definition of feminism, the participants were female, male, LGBTQ, and from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Arriving half an hour into the performance, I was delighted to see that so many people had come out that they had to wait to enter closed-off Park Place. Once inside, adults hugged acquaintances they bumped into and children played, making it feel like a street party. The downside was the amount of noise. There was a policy of no cellphone conversations and it’s a shame there wasn’t a policy to keep conversations hushed because it was impossible to hear the majority of official conversations over the din. At best, the performed conversations would have been in competition anyway because of the proximity of the stoops to one another. Hopefully, the documentation will enhance access to the content of the chinwags.

Sometimes when an art performance ends, it can be awkward for the theatrical experience to become reconciled with reality. In Between the Door and the Street, though, it was great to see the participants dispersing through the neighbourhood and entering the subway, with their bright yellow scarves marking them as consciousness-raising feminists.

The audience waiting to enter Park Place for Suzanne Lacy’s Between the Door and the Street.

Volunteers chatting about feminist topics on the brownstone stoops.

Blogger Heather Saunders taking notes about comments overheard, such as a young girl asking, “Why are there men?”

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